Wilkinson injury jinx strikes again to allow Blues to seize the trophy

Cardiff Blues 28 Toulon 21

Jonny Wilkinson hobbled out of a thrilling Amlin Challenge Cup final with a suspected broken rib as Cardiff Blues defied the odds in Marseilles yesterday. Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny and Bradley Davies all crossed in an impressive second-half comeback as the Blues overturned a 13-6 half-time deficit.

However, Wilkinson was optimistic afterwards that the injury was not as bad as at first feared. "I don't think I have broken a rib but you never know given my injury record," he said. "In my experience you just have to look on the bright side and get on with it. It feels to me like a strain, so I'm reasonably optimistic as far as England goes." Martin Johnson's England squad are due to tour Australia and New Zealand this summer.

Dai Young, the Blues coach, praised his team for keeping their heads to deliver a first European title for Wales and even secure an extra place for his country in next season's Heineken Cup, to be taken by neighbours Scarlets at the expense of Gloucester.

"It was a courageous performance after they had us on the rack for long periods. There were times in the first half when we were hanging on by our toe nails but the Cardiff team simply didn't want to lose," Young said.

"Wilkinson's injury was a turning point for them. He was certainly causing us problems but they lost their shape when he went off. We were able to pressurise them and he wasn't there to relieve the pressure."

Wilkinson gingerly left the fray early in the second half. Having received treatment following a heavy tackle by Cardiff lock Deiniol Jones, Wilkinson slumped to the ground as he kicked a penalty, that sailed wide, on 46 minutes. He must now wait for a scan tomorrow that will determine whether he tours with England.

Philippe Saint-André, the Toulon coach, said: "Jonny took a bang and felt he couldn't kick as he took the penalty. We don't know yet if it just bruising or a broken rib. He will have a medical test though he will have to wait until Tuesday because no one works here in France on Bank Holiday."

Wilkinson's departure heralded a dramatic change in fortunes for Cardiff as Toulon looked rudderless in the face of their opponent's resilient defence.

For reasons better understood by Saint-André, Toulon cast aside their usual structured approach and tried to beat Cardiff out wide, a ploy that looked to have played into Welsh hands until Sonny Bill Williams scored just before half-time.

But once Wilkinson departed, Cardiff grew in belief and were back on level terms within four minutes after Xavier Rush and Martyn Williams allowed British Lions centre Roberts to crash through for a trademark try.

Ben Blair and Tom May exchanged penalties before Cardiff seized the game with two tries in the space of four minutes. Roberts and Casey Laulala set up Halfpenny before Davies dived in from close range. Tana Umaga stepped off the bench to set up a late score but Cardiff had done enough by then to secure the trophy.

Scorers: Cardiff: Tries Roberts, Halfpenny, B Davies; Conversions Blair 2; Penalties: Blair 3; Toulon: Tries Williams, Sourice; Conversion Wilkinson; Penalties: Wilkinson 2, May.

Cardiff Blues: B Blair; L Halfpenny, C Laulala (D Hewitt, 78), J Roberts, C Czekaj; C Sweeney, R Rees; G Jenkins (capt, J Yapp, H-T), R Thomas (G Williams, 45), T Filise (S Andrews, 56), D Jones (P Tito, 50), B Davies, M Molitika (S Warburton, 60), X Rush, M Williams.

Toulon: C Marienval; G Lovobalavu, T May, S Williams, J Sinzelle (T Umaga, 67); J Wilkinson (M Kefu, 46), M Henjak (P Mignoni, 56); S Taumoepeau (L Emmanuelli, 56), P Fitzgerald (S Bruno, 34-40, 56), D Kubriashvili (T Ryan, H-T), E Lozada (J Suta, 51), R Skeate, J van Niekerk (capt), F Auelua (T Sourice, 65), J Fernandez Lobbe.

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashion
News
videoJapanese prepare for the afterlife by testing out coffins
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford attends Blade Runner at Target Presents AFI's Night at the Movies at ArcLight Cinemas on 24 April, 2013 in Hollywood, California
film... but Ridley Scott won't direct
Sport
Hughes is hit by a bouncer from Sean Abbott
cricketStephen Brenkley on batsman's tragic flaw that led to critical injury
Sport
Dejected England players applaud the fans following their team's 3-0 defeat
football

News
people

Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband

News
The Bounceway, designed by Architecture for Humanity
newsLondon to add 'The Bounceway' to commuting options
Life and Style
Stefan Gates with some mince flies
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rooney Mara plays a white Tiger Lily in forthcoming film Pan
filmFirst look at Rooney Mara in Pan
Life and Style
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
tech
Life and Style
health

Do you qualify – and how do you get it?

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital